Caribbean Islands
An Account of the Antiquities of the Indians: A New Edition, with an Introductory Study, Notes, and Appendices by José Juan Arrom
An Account of the Antiquities of the Indians
A New Edition, with an Introductory Study, Notes, and Appendices by José Juan Arrom
Paperback      ISBN: 0822323478

Accompanying Columbus on his second voyage to the New World in 1494 was a young Spanish friar named Ram n Pan . The friar's assignment was to live among the "Indians" whom Columbus had "discovered" on the island of Hispaniola (today the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic), to learn their language, and to write a record of their lives and beliefs. While the culture of these indigenous people--who came to be known as the Ta no--is now extinct, the written record completed by Pan around 1498 has survived. This volume makes Pan 's landmark Account--the first book written in a European language on American soil--available in an annotated English edition.

Edited by the noted Hispanist Jos Juan Arrom, Pan 's report is the only surviving direct source of information about the myths, ceremonies, and lives of the New World inhabitants whom Columbus first encountered. The friar's text contains many linguistic and cultural observations, including descriptions of the Ta no people's healing rituals and their beliefs about their souls after death. Pan provides the first known description of the use of the hallucinogen cohoba, and he recounts the use of idols in ritual ceremonies. The names, functions, and attributes of native gods; the mythological origin of the aboriginal people's attitudes toward sex and gender; and their rich stories of creation are described as well.

Almost Home: Maroons Between Slavery and Freedom in Jamaica, Nova Scotia, and Sierra Leone
Almost Home
Maroons Between Slavery and Freedom in Jamaica, Nova Scotia, and Sierra Leone
Hardcover      ISBN: 0300220464
The unique story of a small community of escaped slaves who revolted against the British government yet still managed to maneuver and survive against all odds

After being exiled from their native Jamaica in 1795, the Trelawney Town Maroons endured in Nova Scotia and then in Sierra Leone. In this gripping narrative, Ruma Chopra demonstrates how the unlikely survival of this community of escaped slaves reveals the contradictions of slavery and the complexities of the British antislavery era.

While some Europeans sought to enlist the Maroons' help in securing the institution of slavery and others viewed them as junior partners in the global fight to abolish it, the Maroons deftly negotiated their position to avoid subjugation and take advantage of their limited opportunities. Drawing on a vast array of primary source material, Chopra traces their journey and eventual transformation into refugees, empire builders--and sometimes even slave catchers and slave owners. Chopra's compelling tale, encompassing three distinct regions of the British Atlantic, will be read by scholars across a range of fields.
American Baroque: Pearls and the Nature of Empire, 1492-1700
American Baroque
Pearls and the Nature of Empire, 1492-1700
Hardcover      ISBN: 1469638975

Pearls have enthralled global consumers since antiquity, and the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella explicitly charged Columbus with finding pearls, as well as gold and silver, when he sailed westward in 1492. American Baroque charts Spain's exploitation of Caribbean pearl fisheries to trace the genesis of its maritime empire. In the 1500s, licit and illicit trade in the jewel gave rise to global networks, connecting the Caribbean to the Indian Ocean to the pearl-producing regions of the Chesapeake and northern Europe.

Pearls--a unique source of wealth because of their renewable, fungible, and portable nature--defied easy categorization. Their value was highly subjective and determined more by the individuals, free and enslaved, who produced, carried, traded, wore, and painted them than by imperial decrees and tax-related assessments. The irregular baroque pearl, often transformed by the imagination of a skilled artisan into a fantastical jewel, embodied this subjective appeal. Warsh blends environmental, social, and cultural history to construct microhistories of peoples' wide-ranging engagement with this deceptively simple jewel. Pearls facilitated imperial fantasy and personal ambition, adorned the wardrobes of monarchs and financed their wars, and played a crucial part in the survival strategies of diverse people of humble means. These stories, taken together, uncover early modern conceptions of wealth, from the hardscrabble shores of Caribbean islands to the lavish rooms of Mediterranean palaces.

American Tropics: The Caribbean Roots of Biodiversity Science
American Tropics
The Caribbean Roots of Biodiversity Science
1st Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 1469635607

Biodiversity has been a key concept in international conservation since the 1980s, yet historians have paid little attention to its origins. Uncovering its roots in tropical fieldwork and the southward expansion of U.S. empire at the turn of the twentieth century, Megan Raby details how ecologists took advantage of growing U.S. landholdings in the circum-Caribbean by establishing permanent field stations for long-term, basic tropical research. From these outposts of U.S. science, a growing community of American tropical biologists developed both the key scientific concepts and the values embedded in the modern discourse of biodiversity.

Considering U.S. biological fieldwork from the era of the Spanish-American War through the anticolonial movements of the 1960s and 1970s, this study combines the history of science, environmental history, and the history of U.S.-Caribbean and Latin American relations. In doing so, Raby sheds new light on the origins of contemporary scientific and environmentalist thought and brings to the forefront a surprisingly neglected history of twentieth-century U.S. science and empire.

American Tropics: The Caribbean Roots of Biodiversity Science
American Tropics
The Caribbean Roots of Biodiversity Science
Hardcover      ISBN: 1469635593

Biodiversity has been a key concept in international conservation since the 1980s, yet historians have paid little attention to its origins. Uncovering its roots in tropical fieldwork and the southward expansion of U.S. empire at the turn of the twentieth century, Megan Raby details how ecologists took advantage of growing U.S. landholdings in the circum-Caribbean by establishing permanent field stations for long-term, basic tropical research. From these outposts of U.S. science, a growing community of American tropical biologists developed both the key scientific concepts and the values embedded in the modern discourse of biodiversity.

Considering U.S. biological fieldwork from the era of the Spanish-American War through the anticolonial movements of the 1960s and 1970s, this study combines the history of science, environmental history, and the history of U.S.-Caribbean and Latin American relations. In doing so, Raby sheds new light on the origins of contemporary scientific and environmentalist thought and brings to the forefront a surprisingly neglected history of twentieth-century U.S. science and empire.

Anne Bonny the Infamous Female Pirate
Anne Bonny the Infamous Female Pirate
Paperback      ISBN: 1627310452

The story of the most famous female pirate in history provides a remarkable personal odyssey from a time when women were almost powerless and at the lowest level of the social order on both sides of the Atlantic. This new biographical work fills considerable gaps in Anne Bonny's life beyond her mythology to rescue an actual person for posterity.

After turning her back on everything she knew growing up in South Carolina to find a sense of personal freedom, Anne Bonny sailed the Caribbean's pristine waters during the Golden Age of Piracy in the early eighteenth century. Few accurate records exist about these law-breakers, whose lifestyles called for hanging. Fortunately, Anne Bonny was a notable exception to the rule, as she was caught off the Jamaican coast and tried by a court of law, whose records have fortunately survived.

So, who was the real Anne Bonny? A heartless prostitute, a bloodthirsty psychopathic, or a compassionate woman of faith and courage? Such a fundamental question has not been adequately answered by historians for 300 years. It is now time to take a fresh look at the life of Anne Bonny to present a corrective view into not only her story but also the seldom explored, but incredibly rich, field of women's history.

The Anne Bonny mythology is today popularly told in Starz channel's Black Sails and the video game Assassin's Creed.

Arising from Bondage: A History of the Indo-Caribbean People
Arising from Bondage
A History of the Indo-Caribbean People
Hardcover      ISBN: 0814775489

Arising from Bondage is an epic story of the struggle of the Indo-Caribbean people. From the 1830's through World War I hundreds of thousands of indentured laborers were shipped from India to the Caribbean and settled in the former British, Dutch, French and Spanish colonies. Like their predecessors, the African slaves, they labored on the sugar estates. Unlike the Africans their status was ambiguous--not actually enslaved yet not entirely free--they fought mightily to achieve power in their new home. Today in the English-speaking Caribbean alone there are one million people of Indian descent and they form the majority in Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.

This study, based on official documents and archives, as well as previously unpublished material from British, Indian and Caribbean sources, fills a major gap in the history of the Caribbean, India, Britain and European colonialism. It also contributes powerfully to the history of diaspora and migration.

Beyond Slavery: Explorations of Race, Labor, and Citizenship in Postemancipation Societies
Beyond Slavery
Explorations of Race, Labor, and Citizenship in Postemancipation Societies
Paperback      ISBN: 0807848549

In this collaborative work, three leading historians explore one of the most significant areas of inquiry in modern historiography--the transition from slavery to freedom and what this transition meant for former slaves, former slaveowners, and the societies in which they lived. Their contributions take us beyond the familiar portrait of emancipation as the end of an evil system to consider the questions and the struggles that emerged in freedom's wake.
Thomas Holt focuses on emancipation in Jamaica and the contested meaning of citizenship in defining and redefining the concept of freedom; Rebecca Scott investigates the complex struggles and cross-racial alliances that evolved in southern Louisiana and Cuba after the end of slavery; and Frederick Cooper examines the intersection of emancipation and imperialism in French West Africa. In their introduction, the authors address issues of citizenship, labor, and race, in the post-emancipation period and they point the way toward a fuller understanding of the meanings of freedom.

The Big Truck That Went by: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster
The Big Truck That Went by
How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster
Paperback      ISBN: 1137278978

PEN Literary Award Finalist

On January 12, 2010, the deadliest earthquake in the history of the Western Hemisphere struck the nation least prepared to handle it. Jonathan M. Katz, the only full-time American news correspondent in Haiti, was inside his house when it buckled along with hundreds of thousands of others. In this visceral, authoritative first-hand account, Katz chronicles the terror of that day, the devastation visited on ordinary Haitians, and how the world reacted to a nation in need.

More than half of American adults gave money for Haiti, part of a monumental response totaling $16.3 billion in pledges. But three years later the relief effort has foundered. It's most basic promises-to build safer housing for the homeless, alleviate severe poverty, and strengthen Haiti to face future disasters-remain unfulfilled.

The Big Truck That Went By presents a sharp critique of international aid that defies today's conventional wisdom; that the way wealthy countries give aid makes poor countries seem irredeemably hopeless, while trapping millions in cycles of privation and catastrophe. Katz follows the money to uncover startling truths about how good intentions go wrong, and what can be done to make aid "smarter."
With coverage of Bill Clinton, who came to help lead the reconstruction; movie-star aid worker Sean Penn; Wyclef Jean; Haiti's leaders and people alike, Katz weaves a complex, darkly funny, and unexpected portrait of one of the world's most fascinating countries. The Big Truck That Went By is not only a definitive account of Haiti's earthquake, but of the world we live in today.

Biography of a Runaway Slave: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition
Biography of a Runaway Slave
Fiftieth Anniversary Edition
Paperback      ISBN: 0810133415

Fiftieth Anniversary Edition

Translated from the Spanish by W. Nick Hill

Introduction by William Luis

Originally published in 1966, Miguel Barnet's Biography of a Runaway Slave provides the written history of the life of Esteban Montejo, who lived as a slave, as a fugitive in the wilderness, and as a soldier fighting against Spain in the Cuban War of Independence. A new introduction by one of the most preeminent Afro-Hispanic scholars, William Luis, situates Barnet's ethnographic strategy and lyrical narrative style as foundational for the tradition of testimonial fiction in Latin American literature. Barnet recorded his interviews with the 103-year-old Montejo at the onset of the Cuban Revolution. This insurgent's history allows the reader into the folklore and cultural history of Afro-Cubans before and after the abolition of slavery. The book serves as an important contribution to the archive of black experience in Cuba and as a reminder of the many ways that the present continues to echo the past.